TRUCKS GONE WILD: TOP OUTBACK TRACKS FOR 4X4 TRUCKS
Trucks are a pivotal part of the country, running 24/7 to deliver supplies and services across the country… but living the trucking life doesn’t only have to be about the daily grind!
With easy room and extra payload for adventuring essentials, 4×4 trucks can double up as the perfect weekend vehicle for exploring off-road tracks, camping and remote destination adventures. Motorbikes? Easy. Quadbikes? Fit them in with a laugh. Two kids along for the ride? No worries with a dual cab. And room for the dog, esky, and snag sizzler, too.
Whether you want to plan a getaway to camp, drive, swim, or just do some sight-seeing in our amazing Australian outback, we’ve got some suggestions for your next 4×4 adventure.
*Before heading out, we recommend taking all possible precautionary measures to ensure the track is suitable for your vehicle. Travel at your own risk. Isuzu Trucks always advises to check the relevant state health authority or government website for changing COVID-19 travel restrictions and public health advice.
BEST OFF-ROAD CAMPING TRACKS
Broken Hill (NSW) to Cameron Corner (QLD/SA/NSW border)
Distance: 436 km
Recommended drive time: 1–2 days
March to October is the best time to tackle this relatively easy drive that explores the remote north-west corner of New South Wales. The sight of desert wildflowers in bloom is worth the trip, if you get the timing right. Bound by the Queensland border to the north, the South Australian border to the west and the New South Wales border behind, Cameron Corner is a unique area with a lot of landscape to appreciate.
Camping options are plentiful, with the choice of everything from dedicated caravan parks to more rough-and-tumble experiences.
There are also options to join an escorted group or tag-along drive with outback 4WD tour groups in the area.
Image credit: westernaustralia.com
Shark Bay: Francois Peron National Park
Distance: Approximately 830 km from Perth (WA)
Recommended drive time: 2 days from Perth + 2–3 days exploring time
To experience the sight of orange sand meeting pristine white beaches and sparkling blue ocean, this is a great location to explore in your 4×4 truck. Situated at the top of the National Park is Shark Bay (listed as a Word Heritage Area), the ideal vantage point to watch turtles, sharks, seals and whales swim past. With several remote oceanside camping spots, Shark Bay is a stunning place to relax, camp and enjoy some 4WD driving on the dunes.
Note that only high clearance 4×4 vehicles with low range capability can traverse the soft sand tracks in Shark Bay. Check out this fact sheet for more information.
Distance: 1,000 km+ from Cairns
Recommended drive time: 6–7 days (depending on your chosen track and departure point)
The Queensland government has been smoothing over the rough-and-ready roads around Cape York, but 4×4 enthusiasts can find some of Australia’s best off-road routes here at The Tip, winding through the Daintree rainforest, bush, beaches, wetland and historic gold towns.
Like all good Aussie adventures, driving the tracks at Cape York requires preparation with a capital P – you’ll be facing river crossings, mud, limited phone and internet reception, and fuel stops few and far between. Depending on your chosen route, there are options for remote camping or campgrounds and accommodation scattered throughout the region.
Popular favourites include The Bloomfield Track (Cape Tribulation to Cooktown), Jarramali Rock Art 4×4 Tours, and The Creb Track (Daintree village to Cooktown)—a challenging drive through World Heritage-listed rainforest for experienced drivers only.
Watch out for saltwater crocodiles! In recent years, the population has boomed. Best times to drive are between June and October.
Image credit: traveloutbackaustralia.com
Marree to Marla (SA)
Distance: 620 km
Recommended driving time: 2–3 days
For beginner drivers keen to notch up some remote area driving, the Oodnadatta Track is ideal. If the track is dry, it’s likely to be well-populated with cars and caravans. With bonus access to swimming in hot springs along the way, and a drive past Lake Eyre, it’s also a perfect family camping adventure.
There are well serviced camping spots along the track, including the Coward Springs campground.
BEST ADVENTURE TRACKS
Image credit: exploreoz.com
Kununurra to Derby (WA)
Distance: 660 km
Recommended drive time: 14 days (3–4 days minimum)
May to September is the best possible timeframe to drive this road… but get ready to hold on to your hat. This track winds through the Kimberley’s untouched wilderness, through gorges with spectacular waterfalls, up to cattle stations on the flat.
In this part of Australia, the characters you may meet are likely to be as diverse and intriguing as the incredible landscape. But be warned: teeth-rattling corrugations will have you shaking in your seat for kilometres as their road stretches on (and on) like a cattle grid. Make sure your vehicle is serviced and up to the challenge and do not go without spare tyres as back-up!
Here is a breakdown of the key distances and driving times on the Gibb River Road.
Marree (SA) to Birdsville (QLD)
Distance: 517 km
Recommended drive time: 2–3 days
The Birdsville Track is the ideal route for a quintessential Aussie driving adventure. Choose the Inside Track and follow the original historic stock route, or play it cool on the Outside Track, which runs around the edges of the picturesque Diamantina floodplain. Tackling the drive up the famous Big Red sand dune is a genuine challenge and should only be attempted in ideal conditions.
Best driving times are between April and October. For other great Queensland 4×4 route suggestions and maps, check out the Outback Queensland website here.
Coober Pedy (SA) to Laverton (WA)
Distance: 1,350 km
Recommended drive time: 4–7 days
It’s a solid, rocky desert track that’s literally in the middle of nowhere, and home to what might be Australia’s most isolated roadhouse at Ilkurlka—but it’s worth it for the breathtaking scenery from red sand to salt lakes. Permits are required for some areas of the track.
Image credit: ourgems.com.au
Wiluna to Halls Creek (WA)
Distance: 1,800 km approx.
Recommended drive time: 10–12 days
It’s ranked as one of the world’s most remote tracks and offers challenges from harsh arid terrain to sand dunes—even for the most experienced off-road drivers—but it’s a drive like no other. The Canning Stock Route staff and Aboriginal rangers patrol the site regularly, but travel is recommended in a well organised convoy (and a very reliable vehicle suited to the conditions).
Best travel times are between April and September, but you’ll also need to keep an eye on track closures due to COVID-19. This trek is one for the well-prepared, requiring travel permits for some parts of the route.
Safety first and then some fun
No matter where you are heading, always plan your trip ahead of time.
Being prepared for the weather conditions with appropriate gear, clothing, food, water, and fuel is vital to keep you, any passengers, and your truck safe.
If you are going well off the beaten track, telling family and friends, as well as local police about your travel plans is always a good idea.
There are also loads of handy phone apps to help you plan your next adventure, giving up-to-date alerts on weather conditions ,emergency situations like fires or floods, first-aid tips or even just info on the nearest camping ground. The Emergency+ app is also a great one to consider downloading—it uses GPS functionality to help a Triple Zero caller provide critical location details to mobilise emergency services.
Carrying a well-stocked first aid kit and water supplies are a travel must and making sure your truck is in peak condition, with the tools you need to handle tyre changes and other repairs, is also recommended.
Off for and adventure, or on the road regularly? Here’s our tips for handling injured wildlife on the road.